Saturday, October 31, 2015


This week in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship I had to write a book report on George Leonard's book, "Mastery".  I just need to say that Abby is now going to have to read this book because it is perfect for her.  We know that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something.  What Leonard teaches us, however is that the key to mastery is not only to have your eye on a goal, but to find success and fulfillment in the journey.  This concept goes against what mainstream society has lead us to believe.  We grow up in a society where instant gratification is the key.  We are taught that we do not have to wait for something, we can get it now.  Leonard disagrees.  In fact, he states that when most people come up with a new goal, they attack this new goal in one of three ways:

1 - The Dabbler - this is a person who likes to try many things and feels satisfaction with improvement, but when they hit a plateau, they give up and move on to the next thing.

Ummmmm. . . . . GUILTY!!!

I am TOTALLY a dabbler, but I am also number 2.

2 . The Obsessive - this is a person who is purely results oriented and thinks that they are different than the norm and can become a master in a shorter period of time.  They work hard and put in extra hours, but when they don't find their desired level of success based on their input, they give up and move on.

See?  I told you that I'm guilty of this one.

3 . The Hacker - this person likes where he's at in life and doesn't want to improve anything about themselves.

Whew!  I am not number 3, but I am definitely the first two!  What about you?  Do you see yourselves as any of these three people?  If you do, there's hope.  Leonard says that everyone is at least one of a combination of these three types of people at different times in their lives.  The key to mastery though is to learn to enjoy to practice.  Consistent, continuous practice even with little to no progress is what differentiates the three people above from a master.
Leonard goes on to give us tools to become a master.
These tools include:
1 - Instruction - the key is to find a good teacher.  A master is not always a good teacher.
2 - Practice - according to Leonard, practice is not something that you do, it's something that you have and something that you are.
3 - Surrender - you need to surrender to your teacher and to practice no matter how foolish you may look.
4 - Intentionality - a master approaches the path to mastery with clear visualizations.
5 - The Edge - a master pushes themselves to the edge while maintaining constistant practice.

These five tools of mastery give us what we need to continue on the path to mastery.

Ok, so I read the book.  The question I asked myself is "Why?"  Why is this one of the required reading materials for this course?  I would like to say that it was easy for me to figure out why we were supposed to read this book but I have pondered over this all week.  What does this have to do with becoming an entrepreneur?  The answer did come, but it came gradually.
I am also taking another business class this semester and in it I had to write a personal code of ethics.  As part of this code of ethics I had to write what my goal was in writing this code of ethics.  What I wrote down was the following: "My goal in writing this personal code of ethics is that it will serve as a guide throughout my life so that when I die, the world will be a better place because I was in it."  Because of this statement in my code of ethics, my career path is clear.  I want to be instrumental in bringing a highly reputable choral program to Katy, TX.  I am currently working with a friend who has already started this non-profit organization and I will be joining her as an Executive Director in September.  This non-profit foundation will be the beginning of something that I see can change the lives of many children through the power of music.
This is my path of mastery.  This is why I had to read the book.  My path has been hard for me to find.  I have spent many years looking for my path.  I have spent many years being a dabbler and an obsessive, and now I am ready to travel down my path to mastery.  This journey will require me to make many sacrifices but I believe that it will fulfill my goal from my personal code of ethics as well as lead me and my family to feel success and fulfillment along my path.  As George Leonard stated in his book, "A master is his path."  I hope that one day, I will be able to look back on my path of mastery and be proud in what I have been able to accomplish.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

So You Want To Be An Entrepreneur

I believe that I have mentioned it before, but I feel as though I come from a long line of entrepreneurs.  I have plenty of ancestors who were entrepreneurs, my grandfathers were entrepreneurs, my parents are entrepreneurs and I even have siblings who are entrepreneurs.  I have been raised to see money-making opportunities all around me.
The important lessons that I learned in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class this week were about personal morality and the dedication that it takes to become an entrepreneur.  I believe that these two principles were best summed up in the talk, "Success is Gauged by Self Mastery" by N. Eldon Tanner.  He taught that the two important elements in self-mastery are:

1 - determining your course of moral standards and
2 - will power

As I have thought about these two elements stated by N. Eldon Tanner, I have noticed that this seems to be a trend in all of my classes that I am taking this semester.  I am also taking a microeconomics class and a business simulation class through BYU - Idaho as well as working towards getting my real estate licence.  In all four of these classes I have learned the importance of integrity, reputation, honesty and hard work.  I love that these are the values that are being taught in school.  I have learned the importance of these values in my previous experience owning a catering company.
When I had my catering company I was also a mother of young children.  Because of this, the only way that I would advertise my catering business was by word of mouth.  I was often surprised and humbled by the fact that my business grew faster than I could handle while raising my babies and I often had to turn away events (but not without giving them recommendations on whereelse they could go).  I know that the reason that word spread so quickly about my catering company was because I always tried my best to deliver food with the highest quality and kept my business organized.  I quickly learned about time management (which is crucial when you are dealing with food) and often spent many nights cooking food in less-than-ideal circumstances.  I remember one instance when the power to my home got shut off and it was the day before Halloween and I had to cater a lunch for a spa.  I had 3 young children who were scared and my husband was at work.  After feeling completely overwhelmed, I packed up my children, took them to my parent's house, came back and gathered all of the food that I would need for the catering job and then proceeded to pull an allnighter cooking.  I finished the job just in time for it to be delivered and after collapsing exhausted on the couch, I told my dad that I was so glad that I made it in time because I wasn't sure I would.  My dad then said something to me that was the biggest compliment that I have ever received.  He said, "I never had any doubt that you would do it."  That phrase completely warmed my heart because my dad, one of my heroes, told me that he knew that I had the willpower and dedication to finish something that I had committed to doing, no matter what it took.
I believe that my perspective in this course is different from a lot of my classmates because I have already been an entrepreneur and my family is full of entrepreneurs.  I have already had experience with the ups and downs of owning businesses and working for businesses.  I do love, however, that the concepts and principles that I hold dear to my heart are the ones that are being taught in my classes.  I know that as me and my classmates continue to learn these principles of morality in conjunction with entrepreneurial skills, there will be an increased number of entrepreneurs in the marketplace who stand for honesty and integrity and I believe that these people will make the world a better place.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

A Hero

What constitutes a hero?  Have you ever thought about it?  When I was a kid, I had to write a paper on who my hero was.  In fact, I had to write several papers about who my heroes were.  And do you know what?  I always had the same two answers.  I would actually alternate between the two of them.  My two heroes are my dad and my Grandpa Bennion.
Although I would pay money to see these two in tights and capes, they have never physically worn them.  Neither of them would win any weight lifting contests.  Even though my dad wanted me to believe that he had x-ray vision and could see everything that I was doing, I know that he doesn't.

So, if they don't have super powers, why have I always considered them my heroes?

It is because they are who I want to become.

Both my dad and my grandpa have an incredible amount of wisdom.  I have been the recipient of this wisdom on many occasions.  My dad is always teaching me to use discernment to decide between two choices.  He has made me write countless lists when I have struggled in my personal life, my family life and even with my future.  My dad has always used the scriptures to teach me life lessons and to help me see what my priorities are.  He raised me on the book, "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" and taught me about business and investments.  My dad has always encouraged me to strive to make myself better.  This is why he is my hero.
My grandpa is my hero because of his quiet example of brilliance.  I have watched him quietly dedicate all that he has to everything that he does.  When my grandpa gets asked to do something, he doesn't just do it quickly but takes the time to make sure that everything is done well.  I admire him for this.  I love him for this.  My grandpa has never had to tell me that he has a testimony of Jesus Christ, I simply know it because I have watched his countenance change whenever he is doing something that emulates the Savior.

So, what does being a hero have to do with my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class?  Well, when I watched a video about a "Hero's Journey" it got me thinking about the importance of being a hero.  In order for me to understand how to become a hero, I had to reflect on my own heroes.  In the video, it is suggested that we guide our lives by three questions.  These questions are the following:

1 - Have I contributed something meaningful?
2 - Am I a good person?
3 - Who did I love and who loved me?

I believe that by seeking our own personal answers to these three questions, we embark on a hero's quest.  In trying to understand what I can contribute to the world, the speaker in the video suggests that I find where my God given gifts intersect with what gives me joy.  I believe that I have found this answer and am currently working on making this happen.  However, I can't help but think about my two heroes and wonder if they have found the answer to this question?  As I have reflected upon this, I have come to realize that both of my heroes have not only found their callings in life, but have used these to create something meaningful in this world.  My dad and my grandpa have both finished this road in the journey.
Next is the question, Am I a good person?.  In my class we had to set ethical guardrails.  These are the statements of "I will not" that set the guardrails on our journey.  In other words, these guardrails help us to figure out what our moral groundwork is so that we can progress on our journey.  Although I have just written mine down, I know, without a doubt, that both my father and grandfather have set these guardrails up in their lives and have not crossed them.  I do not even have to ask what my dad or my grandpa stand for because it is evident in everything they do.  Have I completely accomplished this yet?  When people think about me, do they immediately know what I stand for?  That's something I have to keep asking myself as I continue on my quest to become a hero.
My favorite question is the last one - Who did I love and who loved me?  We tend to surround ourselves with people that we wish to emulate.  When I look at the people I am blessed to associate with, I can't help but feel overwhelmed by the many people that influence my life.  What, then, do I give them in return?  Am I as big of a blessing in their lives as they are in mine?  Do they know how much I care about them?  As a rule, I always tell my family that I love them before I leave them.  This way, even if we were fighting when I leave them, if something should happen to either of us, we can be secure in the knowledge that the last words that we ever spoke to each other were the words, "I love you".  I have to say that there is something incredibly powerful when, before I hang up the phone, I hear my grandpa's aging voice declare that he loves me.  This gives me strength.  My hero loves me, so I need to make sure that I live up to his legacy.

While I know that I am not a hero yet, I am loving learning about the journey.  I love thinking about what I am learning and applying them into my life.  I believe that I am learning so much more than about business, I am learning how to be a better person, mother, wife, daughter, etc.  If I can use this knowledge that I am gaining to be successful in all areas of my life then maybe one day I, too, can become a hero.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Who am I?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself the question, who am I?  I mean, like really stop and reflect on what makes you, you?  This week in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, I really had to self-reflect on who I am, what my goals are and how can I help and uplift those around me.  I have to admit, this was not an easy thing to do.  I have grown up being quite confident in knowing what my strengths and weaknesses are.  I have always felt as though I have had a good grasp on what I can and cannot accomplish.  I have prided myself in my ability to self-evaluate honestly and adjust my goals accordingly.

This week was different.

This week I had to face my fears. 

In my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class, I had to write my four biggest fears.  This was a hard assignment.  I'm not sure why this assignment was so hard for me, but I think that it could be that I actually do whatever I can to NOT confront my fears so that I do not succumb to them.  So, being required to actually sit down and list my fears was extremely hard for me to do.  After listing my fears, I had to write what I would do to avoid having these fears realized.  That part was easy.  I could easily list all of the things that I would do to avoid these fears from taking reality.  The last part of the assignment required me to write down what I would do if these fears actually came true to get my life back to the status quo.  I did it, and do you know what?  I felt like a superhero.  All of a sudden, these fears that I have always had at the back of my mind seemed like nothing.  I felt as though I was Wonder Woman and could fly through the air and defeat anything that came at me because even if the worst case scenario happened to me, I would be alright.  There would be no negative lasting consequence that would hinder my ability to have a happy and successful life should my fears materialize.  In one of the videos that I watched this week, Sharon Mayes stated that we do not need to be afraid of failure.  This is the power that the assignment gave me.  I am no longer afraid.  I am excited to begin the next chapter in creating my new business now because I almost feel as though I can accomplish anything.

If you know me, you know that I am a goal-oriented type of person.  I believe in constantly increasing our capacity to learn and our talents and abilities.  In reading the required chapters of "The Ministry of Business", I was challenged to write a personal constitution.  This personal constitution is a document that states who I want to be.  In doing this assignment, I came up with the following as my personal constitution:

I want to be a disciple of Christ and to become humble.  I understand that the greatest attribute of someone who is humble is to have an incredible amount of self-worth.  I want to gain that self-worth by becoming charitable to my fellowmen.  By becoming charitable to my fellowmen, I want to be able to see those around me as the Lord sees them.  I want to raise myself above the desires of the natural man and see my life through an eternal perspective.  In so doing, I want to become financially self-reliant in order to have the necessary tools to take care of my family in any and all circumstances, no matter what challenges and trials should arise. I want to raise my children to be successful, happy, well-rounded adults who positively contribute to society.
I am sure that different aspects of this personal constitution will change as I get older, however I encourage anyone who has never written out an actual statement of the person that they want to be, to do so.  In order to write a personal constitution, you have to reflect on who you truly are.  You need to admit your weaknesses as well as your strengths and write a personal constitution based on who you want to become.  The whole point of this is to create a model of the ideal person that you are striving to become.  I loved this concept.  I feel that now that I have this personal constitution, I will be able to have my own personal motto.  When I feel as though I am in a morally tough situation, I now have something upon which to lean.  As I strive to be a successful entrepreneur and a better mother to my children, I now have this foundation upon which to build the rest of my life.

In the exercise that followed writing this personal constitution, we then had to set long-term and short-term goals as well as daily tasks.  This part was easy for me because, as I mentioned before, I have always been a goal-oriented person and have already set many of these goals.

So, this is me.  It was painful disassembling my personality to get to this point, but I believe that I have a truer sense of myself.  I have faced my monsters that were hidden under the bed and I am excited to start building my pyramid of success.  I am excited to continue working on making myself better in order to be able to better help those around me.  I am glad that I now have my personal constitution as a banner that flies above me whenever someone asks me who I want to be.  I hope that one day you won't have to ask me who I want to be because I will have become this person.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Formula for Success

I come from a long line of entrepreneurs.  I have seen the work, tears, anxiousness and the passion that goes into creating a successful business.  I have watched a business grow from a simple idea that was concocted on a family vacation, to becoming one of the largest businesses of that type in Canada.  I love business.  I have always loved small business.  I think that without the entrepreneurial spirit, our economy would fail. 

I have always tried to teach my children how to think outside of the box when they want to earn something.  I have taught them that instead of asking me for things, they need to figure out how to get it themselves.  I have watched with tremendous pride as they have used their incredible minds to come up with solutions to their problems that not even I would have thought of.  I want my children to push themselves.  I want my children to constantly strive to become better than they already are, in all aspects of their lives.  I have constantly taught them how to work hard and have been trying to teach them principles for success along the way.
I grew up hearing the words of Robert T. Kiyosaki and his books Rich Dad Poor Dad.  My own dad was his biggest fan.  He would drive us places and make us listen to the audio books in the car.  I didn't realize how much of those words had sunk in until I participated in my Introduction to Entrepreneurship class this week.  The words of Robert Kiyosaki have reverberated in my ears as I have learned the principles of honesty and business ethics.  I didn't realize how much the lessons I learned from those audio books and the books that I am now reading would parallel each other.
One of the books that we are required to read, as part of this course, is called "The Ministry of Business" by Steven A. Hitz with James W. Ritchie.  First of all, I highly recommend this book.  It is very well written and I love the mentor relationship that has developed between these two men.
The reason I bring up this book, and the reason for my post, is because found within this book is "The Formula for Success."  This formula starts off based on some of the habits found in Stephen R. Covey's book, "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People." 

The formula is as follows:

1 - Get Up Early
2 - Work Hard
3 - Get Your Education
4 - Find Your Oil
5 - Make Your Mark
6 - Get Prepared To Be Of Service

So what?  What does "find your oil" even mean?  Well, I have thought about this for this past week, and here's what it means to me.  Before the discovery of oil, life was pretty simple, and basically about survival.  After the discovery of oil came cars, plastics, Vaseline and a whole slew of incredible inventions which have caused our lives to change, drastically.  Oil was the catalyst for change.  So, finding our oil, to me, means to find what makes you unique, or finding your special talent.  What are you going to bring to the world that will cause it to become a better place?  Is it a special talent?  Are you fulfilling a need that is missing in society?  Do you have something that you want to invent that will make people's lives better?  Finding our oil means that we need to figure out what we can contribute to society in order to make it a better place.
Number 6 in the formula is my favorite component.  If you live your life preparing to be of service, you look at how you do things differently.  I used to be an Executive Assistant at dry cleaning company.  I loved my job there, but more importantly, I loved who I worked for.  One of my favorite things about my boss was the way that he regarded his business.  He consistently told me that one of the reasons that he loved his business is because he knew he was helping out his employees.  He knew he was providing a way for them to support themselves and give our immigrant workers a life in a better country with freedoms and rights.  My boss made business decisions based on what it would do to grow the company so that he could help his employees more.  He loved his employees and worried about them.  If they needed something in their lives, he would step up and help them out.  This is what number 6 in the formula means to me.  If we can look at business as a way to help others, we will be successful because it will mean more to us and we will fight harder for it.
Anyways, I have fallen in love with this formula.  I am currently working on a way to post this in my house so that my children can adopt it in their lives and their way that they set goals and pursue their dreams.  So, if I am not successful at anything else in my life, I hope that at least people will be able to see that I have raised successful, well-rounded, humble children who consistently seek to better themselves and who are active contributors to society.